16 October 2008

politicking & pumpkin patching

Like many of us, I'm on the edge of my seat in this election year. Like many of us, I'm eager for this process to draw to a close. And (again) like many of us, I'm sick of the campaign ads, the conflicting claims, the mudslinging, and the propaganda. Much of it turns my stomach.

I'm keenly aware of how impassioned people are about the candidates they've chosen to support; this includes me as well as anyone I know. Ever since I became a registered voter, I've maintained a personal vow not to allow any political associations interfere with my friendships. It's a vow that's still important to me, but in this political season, is increasingly difficult to maintain. So if I'm your friend and I've offended you, I apologize. While I may vehemently disagree with the political convictions of some friends, I see no sense in letting these views interfere with my relationships. And I really hope my friends feel the same. We can do that for each other, can't we?

I was thinking of all this last night as I was watching the final debate. And I know we all realize this election is important, but I was also thinking that perhaps now more than ever, a lot of responsibility lies with the man who is next elected to this office. While the position is a high-ranking one, neither candidate is going to be able to lift this country out of a recession, reform healthcare and education, raise the minimum wage, and bring to fruition the plans and promises that have been made thus far all on his own.

Along the same lines, I also wondered what I might do to be a part of the change this country needs. I can't single-handedly end the war overseas, and I'm pretty sure I can't do much about the current mortgage crisis. I've got to let presidents do what presidents do. I can, however, make thoughtful choices about where and how my time, energy, and financial resources are directed in my community. My vote is an important part of that, but it strikes me that there are things I can do right where I live. It is not going to make headlines, but it will be something.

I can't figure it all out today, but if you have any ideas for ways to serve in the community, I'm game. I've got a couple of my own, but I bet we will get some really good ones if we put our heads together.

So. Enough on that. It's October and that means a trip to the pumpkin patch. After this visit, I'm convinced that amidst all the things that are wrong with the world, pumpkin patches are at least one things that's right with it. Here are some photos from last weekend's venture to Whidbey Island ...

pumpkin patch
just in case you wondered where you were ...

family @ the pumpkin patch
a family together at the pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch
me & my friend peggy

bippity boppity boo.
bippity boppity boo!

P.S. I found a new place to live today, and I think it may be perfect. Hooray!!


  1. Such gorgeous photos!! So fun and festive. Nice work, girl.

    I'm sure you know I appreciate your thoughts here. I've seen, too, how hairy things can get, which is why I felt compelled to write, for my own benefit as much as for others, about the need to temper the politics recently. It's tough when you want to share what excites you about something, only to find out that it enflames others.

    It's so great to be close with a gal who cares about friendship and what unites us more than the division-making stuff. I'm so glad to be pals with you, friend.

    As for what we can do to be part of constructive solutions, this is such a great question. I've been ruminating on it, too. Recently I was thinking about how amazingly the Obama campaign has done in bringing people together and inspiring people toward action at the grassroots level the past 20 months. At every corner of the country and everywhere in between, ordinary people have been hosting conversations in their homes and rallies in their parks. They've been organizing among themselves, and it's inspired so many people to actually be involved in the political process. I've never seen that happen before, but that's probably because I've never been interesting in this stuff until this year. :)

    Anyway, it got me thinking. Obama talks a lot about change happening from the ground up instead of the top down. He also talks frequently about how difficult change actually is and that it takes time, sacrifice, and commitment. It takes vision and it takes us all putting our hand to the plow.

    Obviously, he's been able to effect this kind of change in the political process for the past 20 months, given all the things I outlined above that have been happening. But now I'm wondering: what does "change from the bottom up" look like once he is in office, in his opinion? What kinds of things does he want us as the American people to commit to, together, to help bring positive change to the nation?

    A couple weeks ago, as part of the social justice unit of my Intro to Christian Spirituality class, each of us were asked to create an action project. This basically meant finding some way to serve in any capacity for at least 3 hours, and practicing the presence of God before, during, and after it. It was cool to see the variety of ways that my classmates took service to their communities. One person helped out in a local orphanage, another person spent the afternoon with a troubled middle schooler, someone else gardened with a high school dropout, and several people served at local homeless shelters.

    All of us knew, given what we've been studying about social justice, that our 3-hour commitment wasn't going to effect change on a grand scale in society. But it did help us form a greater sense of solidarity, compassion, and real care with those who are suffering, neglected, abused, or simply not attended to in any way by most people who rush past them each day. Change needs to happen on a systemic level, sure. But it also happens on a daily, seemingly insignificant basis, one heart meeting another heart in chosen moments.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Kirsten. I agree that we should not let politics separate us, and I appreciate your commitment to that end.

    I also value your honesty and appreciate hearing your perspective.

    I'm all for zealous public discourse and good-natured disagreement/debates between people who respect and care for one another.

    I too am sad about all the smearing and misrepresentation that seems to happen every time on both sides. My mode of survival is to take each platform at face value and vote on the candidates' stated values and beliefs.

    As for what we can do "to be part of the change this country needs," I can't think of anything better than what our bishop said at his episcopal visit to our parish a couple weeks ago. What our society needs most, he said, is holiness. As we each pursue deeper holiness in our own lives, healing and wholeness follow to us and all creation around us.

  3. I think Dr. Reynolds said it best to us when he said that people are more important than ideas. Not that ideas take the back burner, but ultimately we can't let them get in the way of the interaction we have from others.

    LOVE the pumpkin pictures! In another year the girls will get to go hit up their own patch 8^D

  4. that last pumpkin. oh, how I like it.

  5. You are so photogenic!
    Yes, this election has brought out the worst in people. We've forgotten the unity we have in Christ is stronger than the division we have in politics.
    It's a shame that we treat the candidates, each with strengths and weaknesses, in a way we'd never think of treating our next-door neighbor. Would you call your neighbor names or effectively hate him or her?
    Here's the thing, no matter who wins the election, I'm called as a Christian to respect, support, and honor that president (Romans 13). I need to recognize that while I have a responsibility to vote and think through the issues and where I stand on them and what I think the function or government is (where I think most of the arguments stem), God's ultimately in control. May his will be my will, and may it further his kingdom work.
    And may these elections be over so I can stop using brain cells on them and go back to my imaginary world! ;)

  6. I love the pumpkin patch photos, but I think I'm still too sick to weigh in on the politics. But I can say that I never knew how many political commercials there were until I found myself confined to the couch and too sick to read all day. Bleh!

  7. what a good post you did on the politics. It has been a very very long marathon of almost 20 months of campaigning. It is sad to see so much fighting between the candidates. The platforms will not totally line up with scripture but the changes and unity that is desired will help build our country eventually.

    I think Charlie Brown and Lucy would like the pumpkin that you chose in the last piece.


  8. LOVE (love, love, love) the photos!

    And congrats on the new place! (there will be photos, right?)

  9. Came across your blog after googleing "You know your from the Pacific Northwest when" & came up with your fall 2006 post. (which I subsequently linked to on my post today -I assume that's ok, since the link was on your post)

    good stuff.

    As to this last of yours....

    Pumkin Patches Rock! - took our 4 year old son on the Mt Hood Rail Road Pumkin Patch Express(we live in Portland) a couple of week s ago and "A good time was had by All" post on that on mine.

    Politics...Mailed in my Oregon ballot yesterday. Really just want to sit back and let the rest of the country catch up now. Know I should perhaps be more involved, but considering how much I REALLY REALLY dislike politics in general, that's not going to happen.

    Still I hear what you're saying and have nothing but love & respect for your general views on friendship/political differences.

    Yes, it's gotten WAY too nasty, which is not surprising considering one of the main goals of any status Quo -is- to maintain the staus Quo.

    I'm sure I'll be looking in again.

    thanks for your posting.

    Nice Matters